Charleston council approves racial action ordinance

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston City Council passed a resolution at its Monday meeting acknowledging racial inequality and needed action against racial discrimination.

The council’s resolution declares “unequivocally that Black lives matter,” reaffirms the city’s anti-discrimination policies and ordinances, as well as recommits public offices to take further addressing racism. The resolution also notes city officials and council members are committed to taking part in implicit bias training from a “nationally certified training entity or entities.”

Passage of the ordinance came as discussions and debate on race continue nationwide as well as in the Kanawha Valley; city crews removed a plaque from Ruffner Park last week recognizing the Kanawha Riflemen, a Confederate militia unit.

The city council approved another resolution to loan the marker to a state history museum. The Charleston Historic Landmarks Commission will have to prepare a proposal for a new monument and markers recognizing the history of Ruffner Park, in which the Ruffner family gave the land to the city in 1831 for a cemetery.

The council also approved an $80,000 settlement to Freda Gilmore, whom two Charleston police officers beat during an arrest last October. The money will be placed in trust.